Why an in-house consultancy solution to your senior recruitment needs brings more benefits than cost

Becky Hill 11 March 2024 5 min read
Managing Costs


“Human Resources isn’t a ‘thing we do’. It’s the thing that runs our business” Steve Wynn, co-founder Wynn Resorts

Is the War on Talent finally coming to an end? Last year we wrote about the challenges facing employers as they negotiated an incredibly tight employment market. The latest jobs data from the UK shows that there are fewer jobs being advertised, but that doesn’t mean the ‘talent’ you want to recruit is more available than they were 12 months ago. Businesses have tightened their belts and employees are less fluid; they are staying put with the hatches firmly battened down, waiting out the cost-of-living crisis.

So, while there is hope of the market loosening up, for the time-being employers may well need to show patience when seeking the right people for the roles they need to fill.

All this has made us think about a topic we discussed last year, and which is perhaps even more pertinent today: the benefit of in-housing external consultants on short-term contracts or retainers to undertake either project work or fill in for senior people who may have left your business, temporarily or permanently.

Businesses often find themselves in a situation where a key member of their team has to step away from their duties, for parental leave for example, or where there is a lag between someone leaving and the replacement joining. In these situations, it’s important not to lose momentum from the business.

Typically, these situations arise at a time where the business least needs it and can lead to job-creep, where a manager or other senior team member tries to pick up the role as well as their own day job.

One solution is to recruit a ‘temp’ but, depending on the seniority of the role, this may not solve the problem. It’s often difficult to find temporary staff who are willing to commit to a contract longer than a few weeks. Hiring a ‘temp’ can also be like handing command to someone who doesn’t want to lead, doesn’t have the right training and skills, or is always looking for their next opportunity rather than building a relationship with you. In our experience, this can also lead to ‘temporary hiatus’ in driving forward your plans and strategies, because ‘temps’ are not necessarily invested in your business.

The alternative solution is to parachute in a professional, a consultant who perhaps already knows your business, your people, and your objectives. In our world of HR, we know how critical getting it right can be for the success of a business for, as Steve Wynn says in the quote: HR is what drives business. So why would you leave your HR in the hands of someone who may not be invested in its success?

At HR Now we work with several clients in this way, owning the role end-to-end and providing the business with focused and strategic professional advice and commercially credible support. We have the capacity, capability, and the knowledge to deliver the skills that are missing for their organisation at any one time.

We are not constantly surveying the field for the next opportunity, we are committed to the task in hand until, when the need for our services is over, we go back to doing what we did before.

There are five reasons we believe operating in this way makes sound business sense:

1. Cost effectiveness

Consultants are typically hired on a project or contract basis, which can be more cost-effective than hiring a full-time employee with benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

2. Specialised expertise

Consultants often have diverse experience across various industries and functions.

This expertise can be valuable for addressing specific business challenges  without the need for long-term employment commitments. And, as a consultant to your business, they will be available for ongoing support whereas a temporary employee will have already moved on to something new.

3. Objectivity and independence

Consultants bring an objective and unbiased perspective to your organisation. They will be invested in your company’s culture and dynamics but remain free of any emotional considerations, which can make it easier for them to identify and address issues objectively.

This impartiality can be especially helpful when handling sensitive matters like conflict resolution or organisational change.

4. Flexibility

Consultants can be engaged as needed, allowing you to scale their involvement up or down based on your requirements. This flexibility is particularly advantageous during periods of change or growth when business demands may fluctuate.

5. Access to networks and best practices

Experienced consultants often have extensive networks and access to industry best practices. They can leverage these connections and insights to benefit your organisation.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to consider the consultancy solution is this: a professional embedded in your team is accountable. It is in their interests to best serve your interests. The decisions they make, the actions they take and the advice they give directly reflects on their organisation: your business becomes their business, and they will be motivated to succeed, for you.